This book is an account of the ships that have borne the name "Queen of the Lakes," an honorary title indicating that, at the time of its launching, a ship is the longest on the Great Lakes. In one of the most comprehensive books ever written on the maritime history of the lakes, Mark L. Thompson presents a vignette of each of the dozens of ships that have held the title, chronicling the dates the ship sailed, its dimensions, the derivation of its name, its role in the economic development of the region, and its sailing history. Through the stories of the individual ships, Thompson also describes the growth of ship design on the Great Lakes and the changing nature of the shipping industry on the lakes.
The launching of the first ship on Lake Ontario in 1678 - the diminutive Frontenac, a small, two-masted vessel of only about ten tons and no more than forty or forty-five feet long - set in motion an evolutionary process that has continued for more than three hundred years. That ship is the direct ancestor of all the ships that ever have operated on the Great Lakes, from the Str. Onoko, launched in 1882 and the first ship to bear the name Queen of the Lakes; to the Str. W. D. Rees, which held its title for only a few weeks, to today's Queen, the Tregurtha, the longest ship on the lakes since its launching in 1981.
Although ships on the Great Lakes may be surpassed in size and efficiency by many of the modern ocean freighters, Thompson notes that the ships now sailing on the great freshwater seas of North America have achieved a level of operating mastery that is unrivaled anywhere else in the world, considering the inherent limitations of the Great Lakes system. The Tregurtha reigns as a model of unsurpassed maritime craftsmanship and as heir to a long and glorious tradition of excellence. Every magnificent ship that has borne the title in the past has contributed in some part to the greatness embodied in the Tregurtha. In time, her title as Queen of the Lakes will pass to another monumental freighter that will carry the art and science of shipbuilding and operation to even greater heights.
About the Author
Mark L. Thompson is a freelance writer and merchant seaman living in Traverse City, Michigan. His lifelong love affair with the Great Lakes shipping industry has included stints as a crewmember aboard the big boats and as a maritime academy administrator. Thompson is the author of the popular Steamboats and Sailors of the Great Lakes.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Not just a history of an appellation given to the finest ship of its time, this is a detailed history of the development and progression of the ships, canals, passenger or cargo functions, and docking within the Great Lakes waterways. The technical information is somewhat daunting yet fascinating. Beginning with the early sailing ships and historically progressing to the ore carriers of today including their designers I found this book fascinating until it was commandeered by a visiting relative who was born along Lake Michigan, went to college at the point of Lake Superior, and now lives along Lake Erie. He did give it back when he went home and I continue to entertain myself in it. I have the audio narrated by Bill Nevitt who really excels in the clear presentation of arcane and technical matters.
Queen of the Lakes (Great Lakes Books Series) By: Mark L. Thompson Narrated by: Bill Nevitt This is an Audible book I requested and the review is voluntary. This book is jammed packed with so much knowledge of ships and shipping industry on The Great Lakes that I don't know where to start! Wow! If you love history of ships or just ships, this is for you! Maybe you just love the history of the Great Lakes...This is for you! This book starts in 1600's and goes from there and tells about each major ship! I mean everything about it! Size, what it was for, you name it. There was quite a competition to be biggest, one was longest by one inch! Size does matter on the Great Lakes! It also discusses the competition between the waterways and the railways especially when the waterways wanted to expand to the sea! It was hard for me to listen to all at once. I had to listen to it in parts of it would sound all the same because I have no ship knowledge. I am sure someone who understands the importance and language of ships wouldn't have a problem. I did enjoy the history of it. The narration was good but it is hard to make facts exciting! Lol!